These systems which also provided voice response and handprint processing pre-date the Internet and the World Wide Web, the IBM PC, and Microsoft MS-DOS, and were installed mainly in the UK by large corporations.
He believed that videotex, the modified domestic TV technology with a simple menu-driven human–computer interface, was a 'new, universally applicable, participative communication medium — the first since the invention of the telephone.' This enabled 'closed' corporate information systems to be opened to 'outside' correspondents not just for transaction processing but also for e-messaging and information retrieval and dissemination, later known as e-business.
Alternative names for the activity are "e-tailing", a shortened form of "electronic retail" or "e-shopping", a shortened form of "electronic shopping".
An online store may also be called an e-web-store, e-shop, e-store, Internet shop, web-shop, web-store, online store, online storefront and virtual store.
This was different for offline shoppers, who were more motivated by time saving and recreational motives.
Digital High Street 2020 English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich was a pioneer of online shopping in 1979.